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University of Minnesota Law School

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University of Minnesota Law School
Motto Theory. Doctrine. Ethics. Skills. Practice.
Established 1888
School type Public
Endowment $85 million
Dean David Wippman
Location Minneapolis, MN, US
Enrollment 632 (full time)
9 (part time)
Faculty 54 (full time)
139 (part time)
(See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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University of Minnesota Law School is located in Minneapolis, MN

Walter F. Mondale Hall, home of the Law School

The University of Minnesota Law School, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a professional school of the University of Minnesota. The school offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.), Masters of Law (LL.M.) for Foreign Lawyers, Masters of Law(LL.M.) Program in American Law in China (Summer 2007), and joint degrees with J.D./M.B.A.; J.D./M.P.A; J.D./M.A., J.D./M.S., J.D./Ph.D., J.D./M.D. J.D./M.P.P., J.D./M.B.S., J.D./M.P., J.D./M.B.T., J.D./M.U.R.P., and J.D./M.P.H.

Founded in 1888, the Law School is consistently ranked among the top 20 law schools in the nation (according to 'U.S. News & World Report') and has a reputation for turning out outstanding lawyers and public servants. With approximately 870 students, the Law School maintains a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Admission into the Law School is highly competitive. All first-year classes are graded on a curve. Most upper-level classes are graded on a curve as well; only those classes with the smallest of enrollments are relieved of the curve. The five-year average bar exam passage rate is 99.18%.

The Law School's Dean position is currently held by Interim Co-Deans Guy-Uriel E. Charles and Fred L. Morrison, who will serve for two years as the law school searches for a permanent hire. Both Co-Deans are long-standing professors of the law school. Dean Alex M. Johnson, the previous (ninth) dean of the law school, announced his resignation effective June 1, 2006. Johnson is currently serving his fifth contract year as Emeritus Dean on sabbatical. Dean Johnson's predecessor, Dean E. Thomas Sullivan, now serves as the Provost of the University of Minnesota, as well as continuing to serve as Professor of Law at the Law School.

The Law Library is the 8th largest of its kind in the United States, with over 1,000,000 volumes, and is open to the students 24 hours a day throughout the year. The chief librarian at the school is Joan S. Howland, who joined the Law School in 1992. Of particular note is The Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center, which houses one of the top three collections of rare legal texts in the nation. For its millionth volume, the Law School acquired the papers of Clarence Darrow.

In 1999-2001, the Law School initiated and completed an expansion of its facilities on the west bank of the University campus.

There are 19 legal education clinics, offering students the opportunity to handle real legal cases under supervision of teaching attorneys. The school also has a formal moot court system, in which a majority of students participate. Second year J.D students are required to participate in either a moot court or legal journal.

Study abroad programs

The Law School offers a number of study abroad opportunities and recently announced the opening of a "campus" in Beijing, where a summer study program for J.D. students in Chinese law is now offered in conjunction with China University of Political Science and Law. The school also features established study abroad programs with ESADE Faculty of Law in Barcelona, Spain; University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden; Université Jean Moulin (Lyon III) in Lyon, France, Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany; University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland, Tilburg University Faculty of Law in Tilburg, Netherlands; and Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. In Fall 2006, the Law School announced a new exchange partnership with the Universidad de Montevideo in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Most recently, the Law School announced a new 18-month LL.M. Program in Beijing, which offers foreign lawyers the opportunity to earn an American LL.M. degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in China.


The school produces a number of scholarly journals. Those that are edited by students include Minnesota Law Review (the 14th most cited legal journal[1]), Law and Inequality (formerly the Journal of Law and Inequality), and Minnesota Journal of International Law (formerly the Minnesota Journal of Global Trade). Faculty edited journals include Constitutional Commentary, Crime and Justice, Minnesota Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Minnesota Journal of Law Science and Technology. 175 students participate on a journal each year. Students at the Law School also regularly publish the humorous newsletter and harbinger of Thursday night activities, The Bar Review Weekly.

Student life

Scene from TORT's 2004 production of "Law Wars"
The Fighting Mondales bench during a game against the Hamline Res Ipsa


An annual highlight for the Law School is when the student body puts on its own full-length musical: written, performed, directed and produced by the all-student Theatre of the Relatively Talentless (T.O.R.T.). Begun in 2002, the event draws over a thousand audience members each year and features cameos by distinguished alumni and other distinguished members of the Minnesota legal community. For the 2006 show, "West Bank Story" (a spoof on "West Side Story"), tickets sold out within three days. Previous shows include: "Wizard of the Fritz" (2003, a spoof on "the Wizard of Oz"); "Law Wars" (2004, a spoof on "Star Wars"); and "Walter Wonka and the Lawyer Factory" (2005, a spoof on "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"). The 2007 show was entitled "Frankenlaw." Participants are known as the TORTfeasors.


The Fighting Mondales hit the ice during the season in intramural play, club play and rivalry games against the law school hockey teams of Hamline School of Law's Res Ipsas and rival William Mitchell Fighting Eelpout. For home hockey games, the Fighting Mondales play out of the Mariucci Arena on the U of M campus. Before becoming the Fighting Mondales, the Law School teams were known as the Tortfeasors.

Notable alumni

Walter Mondale at the introduction of the "Fighting Mondales"

The Law School currently has 10,494 living alumni in 50 states and 68 countries[2], including 275 serving as federal and state court judges nationwide[3]. Perhaps the most famous alumnus of the Law School is former Vice President of the United States and Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale ('56). The Law School's building was renamed Walter F. Mondale Hall in his honor in 2002. His legacy and continued participation in the life of the school recently earned him a most interesting honor from the school's student-run Law Council: the naming of the mascot of the Law School as the "Fighting Mondales."

Other prominent alumni of the school include:

External links